Things to Remember While Dating

  1. If they wanted to, they would. And if they didn’t want to, they wouldn’t. This goes for: making plans with concrete date/time/place, reaching out and (re)connecting, taking initiative to message, how enthusiastic their messages are, basically everything. How people express interest in you shows you how much of a priority you are to them – and it also tells you how you like to be courted. Here are things I like: I love being charmed. A scintillating song? yes please. a moonlit walk? absolutely. communication that is reassuring and kind? ofc! Here are things I dislike: being ignored for days, feeling unsure about someone’s feelings for me/level of commitment, getting “mixed signals”.
  2. People like hearing from people they like. If they sound annoyed, upset, mad, irritated, frustrated that you reached out to them, they aren’t feeling the connection (anymore), even if they once did. Annoyance is what you feel for someone who you think is a nuisance – within reason (a week to ten days), you never have to respond to any version of “If you just waited, I’d have gotten back to you!” If this person left you hanging or sounds annoyed you reached out to them they are not happy hearing from you for whatever reason. It could even be something super convoluted like: “omg, I really like her but I feel overwhelmed that I can’t meet her needs and I hope she doesn’t leave and doesn’t she know this stresses me out?” but guess what: they’re still not happy hearing from you. You want to be in touch with people who want to be in touch with you and who communicate their feelings and intentions clearly. Chemistry alone isn’t enough for that – chemistry isn’t what saves fights or misunderstandings – commitment is. And commitment doesn’t exist on its own – you need both people investing in commitment and shared perspectives for that. Recognize that if someone is annoyed with you for contacting them, they really don’t want anything to do with you – even if they can’t admit it to themselves.
  3. People can say no for reasons that have nothing to do with their feelings for you. And even worse: people can say yes for reasons that have nothing to do with their feelings for you. It’s not you. It’s not even them. It’s things they haven’t worked out about their own life, or things they see in your life that they can’t live with (that you are fine with.)
  4. There is no why. None. Think about the times you’ve lost interest/gave it a genuine shot and it went nowhere/etc. There’s no real “reason” for it most of the time, right? There is 0 why. Connections work for as long as they work due to a combination of life circumstances (how ready and willing and capable the people experiencing the relation are willing to keep something going).
  5. The connection was real when it felt real. No reason to go back and doubt moments you felt sure were shared – they were. Those moments just aren’t enough sometimes. People have genuine fears about commitment, about making the wrong decision, about committing too much, about their own insecurities and inadequacies, about over-promising and “being found out”, about being hurt and rejected if they overinvest – and none of that has to do with the way you both looked at each other once, or a kiss that you felt singing through your whole being. And who knows, maybe it’ll come back.
  6. Love needs boundaries but it also needs courage. Stop dating cowards. Date people who value their OWN feelings for other people enough to be able to act on them. Date people who also value reciprocity, who understand what receiving love should feel like.
  7. Be present and aware of your own emotions and that of the other person. When someone’s feelings for you change, you’ll feel it. You’ll feel it if it gets deeper, and you’ll feel it if they’re pulling away. It’s ok either way – it needs to be ok either way. Neither person is wrong for their feelings changing – but rudeness, imposition, unkindness – these are always wrong and unnecessary.
  8. Let people go who have made it clear that they are not interested in you. “But,” you say,  “it’s not clear! I’m confused!” Look again: it’s clear. Relationships should not be confusing. The fact that it is confusing is a sign of lack of comfort, anxiety, etc that your partner/person/human is reluctant to alleviate. If they don’t care about your feelings, they don’t care about you – even if they feel chemistry for you.
  9. Mixed signals aren’t a thing – the only thing mixing there are completely mismatched perspectives. You are mixing what you want to hear with what you are being shown. If someone is being inconsistent with you, call that out by all means.
  10. Not everyone is capable of what it takes to be in a relationship. Bad at apologizing? Bad at reaching out? Think it’s constantly you vs them when it should be you and the other person vs the problem? You have to work on stuff before you can be with someone.
  11. If you’re not sure about how you feel for someone, guess what: you don’t like them. Take this with a grain of salt: it means you don’t like them right now. If you have a relationship, if you’ve built something, if this is your first conflict, there’s room here to fully take stock of the good times and the bad. If, however, this is within the first few dates and you kind of like them kind of don’t – you don’t like them. Cut ’em loose! They deserve better than your nonsense – especially if you know they DO like you. The space will be good for both of you to figure out exactly where you stand with one another.
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